German biomass-fired power plant controls fugitive material

A biomass-powered 20 MW generating station has specified a totally enclosed, air-supported conveyor system to feed its new woodchip-fired block, achieving “exceptional” control of fugitive materials in the strong winds common to its North Sea location.

Owned by BKE (E.On Kraftwerke 70 per cent and STATKRAFT Markets GmbH 30 per cent) and managed by STATKRAFT Markets GmbH Kraftwerksgruppe Nord-West, the facility’s new conveyor installation has proved so successful that it has been able to comply with strict dust control specifications and prevent nuisance dust from accumulating on new automobiles in nearby transit lots.

“Air-supported conveyors eliminate the carrying-side idlers used on conventional designs,” Martin Engineering European sales and marketing manager, Werner Baxmann said.

“Instead, they employ a film of air rising from a troughed pan to lift the belt. By removing a source of friction and the need for periodic maintenance, air-supported designs can offer significant advantages, including energy, environmental and safety benefits,” he said.

This thin air film can properly support loads and deliver high-speed operation, while generating virtually no mechanical friction. As a result, a drastic reduction in operating and maintenance costs can be achieved.

The Emden plant reports extremely low-maintenance service from the air-supported design. The conveyor has exceeded the company’s 98 per cent operational requirement and the fully-enclosed system prevents the escape of dust. The facility converts approximetly 130,000 metric tonnes of biomass into energy each year, with the conveyor transporting 110-120 metric tonnes per hour.